The decline in Apple's stock price over the last couple of quarters has been very frustrating to all of us. But Apple remains very strong and will continue to do what we do best. We can't control items such as exchange rates and world economies and even certain cost pressures. But the most important objective for Apple will always be creating innovative products and that is directly within our control. We will continue to focus on the long-term and we remain very optimistic about our future. We are participating on large and growing markets. We see great opportunities in front of us, particularly given the long-term prospects of the smartphone and tablet market, the strength of our incredible ecosystem which we plan to continue to augment with new services, our plans for expanded distribution and the potential of exciting new product categories.
Take the smartphone market, for example. IDC estimates that this market will double between 2012 and 2016 to an incredible 1.4 billion units annually and Gartner estimates that the tablet market is growing at an even faster rate from 125 million units in 2012 to a projected 375 million by 2016.
Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services that we can't wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014. We continue to be very confident in our future product plans. Apple has many distinct and unique advantages as the only company in the industry with world-class skills in hardware, software and services. We have the strongest ecosystem in the industry with App Stores in 155 countries, iTunes music stores in 119 countries, hundreds of millions of iCloud users around the world; and most importantly, the highest loyalty and customer satisfaction rates in the business. And of course, we have a tremendous culture of innovation with a relentless focus on making the world's best products that change people's lives. This is the same culture and company that brought the world the iPhone and iPad and we've got a lot more surprises in the works.
A little over a year ago, we announced a plan to return $45 billion to shareholders over three years. Since we began paying dividends last August and began share buybacks last October, we've already returned $10 billion under that program. While we continue to generate cash in excess of our needs to operate the business, invest in our future and maintain flexibility to take advantage of strategic opportunities, we remain firmly committed to our objective of delivering attractive returns to shareholders through both our business performance and the return of capital.
So, today, we are announcing an aggressive plan that more than doubles the size of the capital return program we announced last year to a total of $100 billion by the end of calendar year 2015. The vast majority of our incremental cash return will be in the form of share repurchases. As the Board and management team deliberated among the various alternatives to returning cash, we concluded that investing in Apple was the best. In addition to share repurchases, we are increasing our current dividend by 15% to further appeal to investors seeking yield. And as part of our updated program, we will access the debt market.